The world’s oldest known winery dates back to 4,100 BC. Entrepreneurs have taken this ancient art and science and made it a big business in Loudoun. In less than two decades, Loudoun’s winemaking industry has grown from one person’s hobby to a ranked national leader. The evidence is compelling:
- Governor Terry McAuliffe notes that Virginia now ranks 5th in the nation for its number of wineries.
- Loudoun has more farm wineries than any other county in Virginia.
- Loudoun wines are in the esteemed Governor’s Wine Case, and are earning national awards.
- The prestigious National Wine Conference, usually held in California’s wine country, will take place on the East Coast for the first time this November – in Loudoun.
- The Virginia Wine Summit follows suit with a Loudoun event in 2016.
- Wine Enthusiast magazine named Loudoun one of the best international wine travel destinations.
To keep the industry’s worldwide recognition growing, the availability of local grapes needs to match the increasing demand for Loudoun wine. Without enough grapes grown in-county to meet Virginia farm winery regulations, our winemakers must search other areas of the state to meet the requirements.
Although Loudoun farmers have planted more wine grapes than anywhere else in Virginia, we still need more. This presents an ideal opportunity for farmers who want to get into the wine grape-growing business.
If you’re interested in establishing a Virginia vineyard, there’s no better location than Loudoun. Demand is high and help is plentiful. Informal mentorship flourishes among the network of vineyards and wineries, and a more formal Certified Mentor Farmer Program has been developed through Virginia Tech and the Loudoun office of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Plus, this fall the Northern Virginia Community College launched courses in viticulture and enology.
As always, the Department of Economic Development is here to help you start and grow your business. If you think winegrowing might be in your future, contact Kellie Hinkle today to get started!